Consider this a sign of Salvador Perez’s health: A day after sitting out due to a bruised left palm, he boomed a two-run homer in a 3-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday. It was his second homer of the spring.
“I feel good about my hand,” Perez said. “It’s a little sore, but that’s normal.”
Perez gave Royals the lead in the sixth inning. Mike Moustakas followed with his fourth Cactus League homer immediately after. Both came off tough left-handed reliever Sean Doolittle.
Moustakas also roped a double off lefty Scott Kazmir in second inning. He is now batting .500 in the spring with 13 RBI.
“I really, really like where he’s at,” manager Ned Yost said. “Not only mechanically, but mentally. It’s been impressive to see how hard he’s worked, and how he’s applying what he’s worked on.”
Oakland’s run was charged to Yordano Ventura, who allowed a single in the fifth, and was removed after 41/3 excellent innings. He overpowered the Athletics. Ventura struck out six, walked none and gave up just two singles.Arms race
Ventura stole the show on Wednesday. He is competing with Danny Duffy for the last spot in the Royals’ rotation. Duffy looked good on Sunday. Ventura looked better against Oakland.
The team has yet to declare Ventura a member of its rotation. But he certainly appears to be the favorite as the season approaches. Yost was effusive in his praise afterward.
“I liked his composure,” Yost said. "I liked the way that the game doesn’t speed up on him, for a young player. He always seems to be in control of his emotions on the mound. The ability to make quality pitches, time after time after time.
“I mean, he had a dynamite changeup today. His secondary stuff was really good. His fastball was really, really jumping. Had a real good breaking ball, too.”Medical updates
Second baseman Omar Infante (shoulder inflammation) received a scheduled day off. Yost intends to play him again on Thursday. Shortstop Alcides Escobar (shoulder inflammation) will take a few days to rest his own arm. The Royals scratched Escobar from Tuesday’s game, but insisted his condition was minor.Etc.
After playing coy for a few days, Yost admitted Bruce Chen is slotted to start the fifth game of the regular season. Yost does not want to pitch Chen, a lefty command specialist, back to back after No. 2 starter Jason Vargas. They are too similar in style, he said.
“I don’t really want to give you a good look at Vargas, and then a good look at Chen,” he said.
So either Ventura or Danny Duffy will move into the third spot in the rotation.Up next
The Royals travel to Goodyear to play the Indians. Jeremy Guthrie will get the start. The game starts at 3:05 p.m. Central, but will not be broadcast on local radio.Quote
“That was pretty darn good, boy. — Ned Yost, on Yordano Ventura’s impressive outing.